That might not have been hard to do, when compared with the other official foods of the Mets: A four-ounce cup of Kozy Shack rice pudding carries 3 grams of fat, while a slice of Sbarro cheese pizza packs 13 grams and a Nathan’s hot dog on a bun delivers 20 grams, according to Diet- Facts.com.
Mr. Striano said that Mr. Minaya was a fan of Kozy Shack — or at least its production facilities. “He came out and visited and toured the plant,” Mr. Striano said.
The team’s publicity department could not confirm that there were pudding fans on the active roster. But Al Leiter, the retired Mets pitcher who does color commentary during televised games (for the Yankees, truth be told), counts himself as one: in an e-mail interview, he said that he had asked Mr. Striano to make pudding pops so that he could “have one or two during a game while in the booth.”
Now the Kozy Shack name graces the stadium’s turnstiles and billows up on the field’s huge video screen. The pudding is sold at all of the stadium’s high-traffic concession areas.
Kozy Shack products have sold well at Shea, according to Dave Howard, executive vice president for business operations for the Mets. “It is important that it does move well, because it is perishable,” he said.
If the Mets risk some ribbing by adopting a food that some might consider athletically suspect, at least the franchise is not alone. The Los Angeles Dodgers are sponsored by Farmer John pork products, associating the baseball team with lard, bacon and liverwurst.
An informal poll of sports marketing professionals did not turn up many other incongruous examples, though perhaps it counts that an official sponsor of Major League Baseball’s Web site is Viagra.
To try to build some pudding fever at the home of the Amazin’s, Kozy Shack is giving out free pudding at Shea one day each month through Sept. 5. The next pudding day is July 25, when the Mets play the St. Louis Cardinals.
Needless to say, the Mets have some more-traditional food sponsors as well. One of them, Wise Foods, started a promotion in May to tout its status as the Official Potato Chip and Cheez Doodle Sponsor of both the Mets and the Boston Red Sox. The company sent out teams of people — the “Wise Snack Squad” — in May and June to various public places in New York and Boston to give out sample packages.
There was an Internet component to the promotion: the snack teams gave out game pieces with printed codes that can be entered in a Web site, www.wisesnack-squad.com. Some winners will get baseball themed prizes like on-field batting practice or game tickets.
“We definitely have seen an uptake in our sales from this promotion,” said Jolie Weber, marketing director for Wise Foods.
Kozy Shack reports the same. Enough Mets fans are buying the pudding that Kozy Shack has begun developing a marketing division to reach out to other stadiums as well as to casinos and cruise lines.
Mr. Striano said he had talked to the Red Sox and the New York Yankees about getting his puddings into their stadiums.
From there, he said, he would like to woo the nation with more wholesome foods that Kozy Shack is developing, like ready-made cereal and soy pudding.
That might come as a disappointment to Mets fans like Eric Simon, who said he was hoping that a training regimen of luscious pudding might increase the team’s collective weight.
“Everybody’s got their workout regimens and their personal trainers, so you don’t get too many tubby ballplayers anymore — regrettably, I think,” said Mr. Simon, who runs the Mets Web site AmazinAvenue.com.
“I like the tubby ballplayers. It’s fun to see them sort of flop around the base path. Adds a little humor to the game,” Mr. Simon said.
“More pudding is what I think they’re missing.”